Showing posts with label Tasting Notes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tasting Notes. Show all posts

Laphroaig The 1815 Legacy Edition


”Diet Laphroaig - Money For Nothing”


Whisky Review # 951

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Laphroaig The 1815 - Legacy Edition
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 48%
Maturation: 1st Fill Over-Charred Bourbon casks with Finish in New European Oak
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 75-105 (June 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ‘Ž Too expensive for what it offers. Stay with the 10 Years!
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ‘Ž Too Young, Too Mediocre and Too Expensive!

Colour:

Golden Amber with shades of Orange and Brown (Natural Color)

Nose:

Young. A mix of Sweet, Sour, Musty, Hospital, Spicy & Mineral Notes. A bit of Plastic & Rubber as well. The Peat & Smoke are there but certainly not in an overwhelming way. It's all a bit subdued, Laphroaig on a diet!

Main Aromas:

Toasted and Malted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Honey, Yeast, Wet Peat and Grass, BBQ Smoke, Iodine, Dried Fruit like Apricots, Raisins and Figs, Orange, Smoked Fish and Shellfish on the BBQ sprinkled with Lemon & Herbs, Nuts, Mint, Cinnamon and Ginger.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Nectarine, Green Apple, Tangerine, Hospital, Soot, Brine, Plastic, Tar, Wax, Rubber, Wet Rocks, Mushrooms, Petrol, Grapefruit, Bacon on the BBQ, Licorice, Cardamom, Pepper and Nutmeg.


Palate:

Young. The Alcohol and New Oak are more noticeable at this point. The Palate is a mix of Sweet, Bitter & Sour Notes and is driven by Oak & Wood Spices. The Plastic & Rubber of the Nose are still there as well.

Main Flavours:

Toasted and Malted Barley, Burnt Toast, Burnt Straw, Salted Caramel, Honey, Brown Sugar, Dried Fruit like Apricots, Raisins, Prunes and Figs, Nuts, Musty Oak, BBQ Smoke, Wet Peat, Iodine, Ashes, Tar, Bacon, Herbal Tea, Pepper, Cloves, Nutmeg, Ginger, Menthol and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Vanilla, Nectarine, Seville-Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Dark Chocolate, Soot, Plastic, Rubber, Paint Thinner, Hospital, Leather, Tobacco, Cinnamon, Cardamom & Currie.

Finish:

Middle-Long and mostly Sweet. Some Sour and Bitter notes towards the rather Dry end. Lots of Oak and Wood Spices. Very Tannic. I find Malted and Toasted Barley, Burnt Heather, Salted Caramel, Honey, Brown Sugar, Wet Peat, BBQ Smoke, Iodine, Soot, Tar, Wet Rocks, Ashes, Farmyard, Nuts, Oak, Herbal Tea, Grapefruit, Seville Orange, Cherry-Flavored Cough Syrup, Bacon, Leather, Tobacco, Dark Chocolate, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger, Curry, Menthol and Licorice. The Plastic and Rubber stay with us till the end.


Drinking Advice:

You can add a little Water to The 1815. Not too much though to avoid it becoming Liquid Peat Smoke with a Menthol infusion.

Rating: 81.5 - Stars on a 1-10 scale: Borderline 7 (*******)

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5 

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies it would not be wise to change the system now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. Please feel free to comment!

Drinking Experience Neat
: Okay


Conclusion:

Laphroaig is located a few miles outside Port Ellen on the island of Islay and was founded in 1815 by Alexander & Donald Johnston. It was bought by Beam Suntory in 2014. Since, the distillery has launched a number of NAS Whiskies that received mixed critics. I find this a pity as I used to consider Laphroaig one of my favorite distilleries. The 10, the discontinued 18 and the old 15 Years are some of my all time favorites. I also love to visit the place and the people. The annual production currently amounts to 3.3 million litres of which 70% is destined to be bottled as Single Malt. The core range consists of the 10, the 10 CS, the 10 with Sherry Oak Finish, the Quarter Cask, the Triple Wood, the Lore, the 16 and the 25 years. The 1815 I'm reviewing today was launched in 2017 to celebrate over two centuries of Laphroaig history and forms part of the Travel Retail core range.

It can't be denied that Laphroaig has changed since it was bought by Suntory Beam in 2014. Before that you either liked or disliked Laphroaig. There was no middle way. Today there are many Laphroaigs that are okay or simply forgettable. And the worst of them usually go to the Travel Retail graveyard. Like this 1815. It's okay but no more than that. It's a Young whisky and you can't hide that with extra Alcohol & extra New Oak. And it's disproportionally expensive. It's similar to the An Cuan Mor although the latter is at least different, more balanced and more enjoyable. The 1815 is dominated by Wood and Wood Spices and is boring. I don't like Diet Coke very much and this Diet Laphroaig, although drinkable, will certainly not be on my Christmas list! 

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                          June 21, 2022

Adelphi's Breath of the Isles 2007


”Speak To Me/Breath” 


Whisky Review # 950
Country: Scotland
Region: Isles
Brand: Adelphi's Breath of the Isles 2007
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky
Age: 11 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 58.7%
Maturation: Re-Fill Ex-Oloroso Sherry Cask - Bottled 2019
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 100-120 (June 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ‘Ž Quite a stiff price for an 11 Year old Malt
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ‘Ž Better stay with the standard distillery bottlings.

Colour: Light Amber (Natural Color)

Nose:

As we only know this Malt was distilled on the Isles it's fun to start nosing and see if we can unravel the secret. After having nosed this for half an hour or so I'll start by excluding Highland Park. Highland Park usually matures in Sherried Wood and this Sherry-Matured Breath of the Isles does not ring any HP bells in my head.  On the Nose this Breath o/t Isles feels relatively young and a bit thin. It's mainly Sweet but there are a few Bitter and Sour notes as well. It's mainly driven by (Dark) Dried Fruit, Sugar, Cocoa and Spices. The Peat & Smoke are there but not at all in a dominant way. The Re-Fill Sherry-cask notes are quite clear but they don't dominate either. The Alcohol is noticeable. The Nose is not bad but it lacks a bit of Power.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Butter Biscuits, Honey, Brown Sugar, Straw, Apricot-Filled Puff-Pastry, Dried Fruit like Plums, Raisins, Sultanas, Apples and Pineapple, Papaya Mousse with Creme de Cassis, Cocoa Powder, Nougat, Distant Smoke & Earthy Peat, Cardamom, Pepper and Garam Masala.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Salted Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Fortified Wine, Pear, Lemon, Grapefruit, Wet Rocks, Brine, Iodine, Herbal Tea, Floral Soap, Leather, Cinnamon, Nutmeg Cloves and Aniseed. A little Petrol as well.


Palate:

Young, Mainly Sweet and Medium-Dry. A few Bitter, Sour & Salty notes as well. The Alcohol is quite strong.

Main Flavours:

Malted and Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Honey, Wax, Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Raisins, Plums and Dates, Apricot-Flavored Puff-Pastry, Orange-flavored Bitter Dark Chocolate, Distant Smoke and Earthy Peat, Oak, Pepper, Garam Masala and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Nectarine, Lemon, Grapefruit, Apple, Pear, Lemon, Bounty Candy Bars, Wet Rocks, Leather, Herbal Tea, Cinnamon, Cloves, Nutmeg & Menthol.


Finish:

Middle-Long, Sweet, Young, Waxy and Spicy. A little Bitterness towards the Medium-Dry end as well. The Pepper note is strong, pointing towards Talisker. It's not quite the same Pepper though. The Alcohol is quite strong at this point. I find Malted and Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Wax, Distant Smoke and Earthy Peat, Dried Fruit like Plums, Sultanas, Raisins and Apricots, Nectarine, Apple, Pear, Orange-flavored Dark Chocolate, Creme de Cassis, Charred Oak, Lemon, Grapefruit, Garam Masala, Cloves, Nutmeg, Pepper, Ginger, Menthol, Ashes and Strong Espresso.

Drinking Advice:

Although the Aroma/Flavor profile does not change a whole lot with added Water, I certainly advise you to add a few drops as it helps to calm down the Alcohol.

Rating: 84.5  - Stars on a 1-10 scale: 7.5 (*******1/2)

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

A few of my loyal readers have pointed out that every once in a while my final Rating note does not seem to be totally in line with the written text. I recognize that. When I started this Whisky Blog back in 2011, I was not at all experienced in tasting and scoring Single Malts & Blends. Looking back I realize that during the early years I probably scored the good Whiskies too low and the not so good Whiskies too high. Ever since the beginning I try to remain consequent in my rating, always comparing the outcome to the rating of comparable whiskies in terms of quality and taste and adjusting the final rating if necessary. This might lead to the discrepancy I mentioned before. It would have been much easier if I would have chosen a simple 1-10 rating since the beginning but after having reviewed 950 whiskies it would not be wise to change the systen now. I will however from now on add stars on the 1-10 scale so you will have a better idea of what I thought of the whisky reviewed. Please feel free to comment!

Drinking Experience Neat:

Good

Conclusion:

This is not an easy one to judge. It's not a bad whisky at all but it could have done with more cask time as this was not an extremely active cask. The ABV is simply too high for this Spirit. It all noses and tastes a bit too Young in my opinion. As for the 1 Million $ question as to what distillery produced this malt I must admit that I'm not completely sure. The Pepper notes suggest Talisker but Talisker pepper is different in my mind although I never tasted Talisker that matured in an Ex-Oloroso cask. If I have to put money I would go for Arran but my guess is as good as yours. Please leave your comment if you have additional information on the subject. In any case I prefer the Arran 10, the Highland Park 12 and the Talisker 10 over this Breath!
 
Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                           June 14, 2022

Bunnahabhain An Cladach


”(Un)Pure Shores”


Whisky Review # 949
Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bunnahabhain An Cladach
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50%
Maturation: Mix of Oloroso Sherried wood and Ex-Bourbon casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 40-55 (May 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ˜ Okay at around US$ 40 
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ‘Ž Can't really recommend this An Cladach

Colour: Golden Amber (Natural Color)

Nose:

This Bunnahabhain needs some time in the glass to avoid the initial wafts of Sulfur and Varnish. This is a young Single Malt and there's still a bit of New Make Spirit in the air. The Alcohol is not really integrated. The nose presents itself Nervous and without much Balance. It's a mix of Sweet and Sour notes and shows a rather high Acidity. The Oloroso influence is clear. All in all I'm not impressed though.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, Butter Biscuits, Brown Sugar, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Treacle, Wax, Yeast, Grass and Straw mixed with a little Cow Manure, Dried Fruit like Plums, Figs, Raisins, Sultanas and Apricots, Mixed Red Berries, Green Apple, Orange, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Dusty Oak, Leather, Stale Espresso, Metal, Pepper, Cinnamon and Nutmeg.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Butterscotch, Vanilla, Honey, Resin, Pear, Nectarine, Banana, Sour Cherries, Mango Mousse, Herbal Tea, Nougat, Dusty Earth, Hospital, Varnish, Sulfur, Petrol, Coconut Cask, Ginger, Cloves and Mint.


Palate:

Young. A mix of Sweet, Sour, Bitter, Raw, Acid & Metallic notes. Don't wake me up for this Bunnahabhain. Man, it's really hard to find a reasonable priced decent Single Malt in the Travel Retail shops!

Main Flavours:

Malted & Toasted Barley, Treacle, Brown Sugar, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas, Figs, Plums and Apricots, Apple-Vinegar, Sour (Dark) Berries and Cherries, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Dusty Casks, Licorice, Copper Coins, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves and Nutmeg.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Banana, Orange, Mango Mousse, Dried Herbs, Dusty Earth, Leather, Tobacco, Nougat, Cardamom, Ginger, Mint, Varnish and Sulfur.


Finish:

Middle-Long. Sweet and Sour at first but quicky showing a Bitterness that becomes almost unpleasant towards the Medium-Dry end. I find Toasted Malt, Treacle, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Yeast, Grass and Straw, Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Figs and Plums, Sour Red Berries and Cherries, Pear, Green Apple, Mixed Nuts, Milk Chocolate, Dusty Casks, Dusty Earth, Sulfur, Dried Herbs, Stale Espresso, Peanut Butter, Cinnamon, Pepper, Cloves, Nutmeg, Mint, Wet Rocks, Leather, Licorice, Copper Coins and Stale Espresso.

Drinking Advice:

A little Water certainly helps to calm down this Spirity Bunnahabhain. More Malt & Fruit on the Nose but lots of Spices and Menthol on the Palate and in the Finish. I would add a few drops though.

Rating: 80

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 19.5 - Overall: 20

Drinking Experience Neat:

Borderline Okay. This Bunnahabhain does not light up my day.

Conclusion:

Bunnahabhain was founded in 1881 by William Robertson and is located close to Port Askaig on the isle of Islay. It is currently owned by Distell International Ltd that made substantial investments in reviving the site. A brand new Visitor Centre was opened in 2021. The core range now includes the 12, 18, 25 and 40 years alongside some peated expressions like the Toiteach and the Stiuireadair. Total production is around 2.5 million litres of which roughly 35% is peated. The An Cladach (Gaelic for "The Shore") that I'm reviewing today was launched in 2017.

Easily the weakest Single Malt I have tasted this year. It's Young, Rough, Metallic, Bitter and quite unbalanced. I don't get any pleasure out of this I'm afraid. And I don't really know what's the cause. Most likely a combination of Youth, Indifferent Casks and perhaps a longer Middle cut. It's almost as miserable as the weather during our visit to the distillery! In any case I can't recommend this one and I urge you to stay with the slightly better 12 Years. Or, if you like peated Malts, go for the Toiteach instead. That's more like it! 

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                            May 31, 2022

Glenallachie 18 Years


”Bitter Tears”


Whisky Review # 948
Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glenallachie
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 18 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Mix of Ex-Oloroso, Ex-PX and Virgin Oak casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 105-130 (May 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ‘Ž The quite similar 15 Years has the better P/Q ratio
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ Not really bad but not my kinda thing.

Colour: Amber (Natural Color)

Nose:

Be sure to give this Glenallachie enough time in the glass before nosing to avoid the initial wafts of Varnish and Shoe Polish. The nose is on the Thin side and I would not give it 18 Years in a blind tasting. It's a mix of Sweet and Sour notes with lots of (Dried) Fruit and Nuts. Some of the Fruit notes remind me of Artificially flavored Candies rather than the real thing. The influence of the Sherried Wood is noticeable but this Glenallachie is not really a Sherry bomb. It's actually a rather shy nose and you have to dig deep to find most of the supportive Aromas. The Alcohol is not totally integrated but it does not interfere with the nosing procedures either.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Butterscotch, Heather-Honey, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas, Plums, Dates and Apricots, Artificially-flavored Candies (Raspberry, Red Grapes, Banana, Pineapple), Mixed Nuts and Nutshells, Grass & Straw, Dusty Oak, Apple-Vinegar, Chocolate, Strong Espresso, Dusty Track, Pepper, Salt, Cinnamon & Ginger.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Caramel, Demerara Sugar, Vanilla, Orange, Grapefruit, Tangerine, Dough, Wax, Glue, Varnish, Shoe Polish, Nougat, Marzipan, Floral Soap, Leather, Tobacco, Herbal Tea, Nutmeg, Currie, Cardamom, Virgin Oak, Iron and Fertilizer.


Palate:

A little on the Thin side. Sweet and Sour at first but with increasing Bitterness along the way. It's a bit Dirty but in a slightly Artificial and almost Chemical way. Nothing like Springbank or Ledaig to be sure. A hint of Sulfur perhaps. The Alcohol is more noticeable here.

Main Flavours:

Malted and Toasted Barley, Butterscotch, Heather-Honey, Liquid Fruitcake sprinkled with Raisins, Sultanas and Dried Fruit like Apricot, Plums and Figs, Orange Peel, Grapefruit, Apple-Vinegar, Mixed Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts), Nougat, Espresso, Dark Chocolate, Dusty Oak, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg and Mint.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Salted Caramel, Brown Sugar, Dark Cherries, Red Grapes, Tobacco, Leather, Wax, Herbal Tea with a dash of Lemon, Soy Sauce, Ashes, Dusty Track, Cardamom, Currie, Cloves and Licorice.

Finish:

M
iddle-Long, a bit Thin and certainly Tannic. Sweet and Sour notes at first but with increasing Bitterness towards the rather Dry end. The Alcohol is quite noticeable at this point. I find Toasted Barley, Toffee, Brown Sugar, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Nuts, Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Dates, Plums & Apricots, Dark Cherries, Grapefruit, Red Grapes, Orange, Green Apple, Nougat, Dark Chocolate, Dusty Oak, Wood Polish, Herbal Tea, Leather, Tobacco, Licorice, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cloves, Cardamom, Currie, Ash, Strong Espresso and Menthol. After some time I believe the Nuts to be mostly Walnuts. And I get some Honey and Apple-Vinegar as well.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water enhances the Fruit on the Nose and helps to calm down the Alcohol on the Palate and in the Finish. A few drops don't hurt in this case.

Rating: 84

Nose: 21 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21

Drinking Experience Neat:

Okay/Good. Not really my type of Whisky.

Conclusion:

The Glenallachie Distillery is quite new and was founded only in 1967. It is located on a hill above Aberlour, close to Ben Rinnes. It closed from 1987 to 1989 when it was purchased by Pernod Ricard who in turn sold it to The Glenallachie Distillers Company in 2017. Most of the Spirit disappeared in Blends like Clan Campbell, House of Lords, White Heather & Chivas Regal until 2018. At that time a core range was launched by the new owners including the 10 Years CS, the 12, 15, 18, 21 CS and 30 CS. The 18 Years was actually added to the core range in 2018.

This 18 Year old Glenallachie is quite similar to the 15 Years I reviewed earlier. Both feel younger than they are and they both present this kind of Artificial and Dirty Bitterness that I'm not really in to. Despite the fact that I love the Dirty notes in Malts like Springbank and Ledaig. But those notes feel authentic and that's not the case here. I can't help but feel that Glenallachie has much more potential than it shows with the 15 and the 18 years. Maybe it's time for them to consider a shorter Middle Run and a tighter cask Management. Because at these prices their peers simply outperform them.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                            May 24, 2022

Tamdhu CS Batch # 5


”Love Me Like Tamdhu 


Whisky Review # 947

Country: Scotland

Region: Speyside
Brand: Tamdhu Cask Strength - Batch 5
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 59.8% (Around Cask Strength)
Maturation: 1st and 2nd Fill Ex-Oloroso Sherry-Seasoned Casks from Jerez, Spain
Chill Filtration: No
Sample provided by Mauricio from Brasil. Many Thanks!
Price Range: US$ 75-90 (May 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ˜ Okay, certainly at around US$ 75
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ‘ If you like heavily Sherried Speysiders this will serve you well

Colour: Copper (Natural Colour)

Nose:

A true to form Sherry nose with lots of Dried Fruit, Dark Chocolate and Fruit Cake. Quite Sweet of course but not over the top. Some sour notes for balance. It's a relatively young Single Malt and the Alcohol is noticeable.

Main Aromas:

Toasted and Malted Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Honey, Fruit Cake, Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Raisins, Plums, Dates, Bananas and Prunes, Orange, Dark Berries & Cherries, Roasted Nuts and Coffee, Dark Chocolate, Dusty Oak, Cloves, Nutmeg & Ginger.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Caramel, Red Apple, Lemon, Grapefruit, Nectarine, Straw, Marzipan, Dried Herbs, Tobacco, Leather, Coconut Cask, Green Leaves, Dusty Track, Licorice, Mint, Cinnamon and Pepper.


Palate:

The Palate follows the Nose with lots of (Dried) Dark Fruit, Nuts and Spices. The strong ABV is quite noticeable. The relative Youth of this Tamdhu is quite clear. The taste is mainly Sweet but is balanced with Sour and Bitter notes. Not bad but a bit predictable.

Main Flavours:

Toasted and Malted Barley, Vanilla, Honey, Toasted Nuts, Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Raisins, Plums, Apricots, Bananas and Dates, Blackberry, Orange, Red Apple, Dark Chocolate, Fruit Cake, Dusty Oak, Pepper, Ginger, Cloves, Nutmeg and Licorice.  

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Caramel, Toffee, Treacle, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Straw, Nectarine, Cherry, Grapefruit, Lemon, Leather, Tobacco, Herbal Tea, Dusty Track, Cinnamon, Menthol, Aniseed and strong Espresso.


Finish:

Quite long and a little hot. Mainly sweet with a few sour notes as well. Increasing bitterness towards the dry end. The high ABV can't hide the relative youth of the spirit. I find Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Caramel, Honey, Dried Fruit like Sultana, Plum, Apricot, Banana and Prunes, Blackberries, Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Red Apples, Roasted Nuts, Dark Chocolate, Dusty Track, Leather, Tobacco, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, Nutmeg, Menthol, Aniseed, Dusty Oak and strong Espresso. A hint of Cigar Boxes after a while.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that helps to calm down the Alcohol. The nose gets more Malty and Nutty though, especially Walnuts. The palate almost transforms into a liquid Fruitcake. You can certainly add a bit of Water but be sure to nose and taste it neat as well.

Rating: 84.5

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21

Drinking Experience Neat: Good. Could do with a longer maturation.

Conclusion:

The Tamdhu Distillery was founded in 1896 by a group of Whisky Blenders of which William Grant was the most important. It is located in Knockando/Aberlour in Morayshire. It closed from 1911 to 1913, 1928 to 1948 and 2009-2011 when it was bought by the current owners Ian MacLeod. Under the old owners (The Edrington Group) most of the spirit went into Blends like Cutty Sark, Vat 69, White Horse, The Famous Grouse and J&B. The new owners however are keen to put Tamdhu on the Whisky map as a premium Single Malt. But of course it will also be used for MacLeod's own Blends like King Robert II. The current production amounts to 3,1 million litres. The core range includes the 10, 12 and 15 Years as well as the CS I'm reviewing today.

It's not often that I get to taste a Single Malt of this Distillery and the Cask Strength does not disappoint, especially when you're into Sherried Speysiders. It's not quite my preferred type of Whisky though. I find it rather predictable and a bit boring. But that's just me of course. I do have a specific issue with this Tamdhu though. It's a little too Young and, as a consequence, a bit too Hot & Nervous. This would be much better with additional cask time. Still, if you like Sherried Speysiders/Highlanders like Glenfarclas and Glengoyne you should give this Tamdhu a chance.  

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                            May 17, 2022

Aberlour Casg Annamh


”The Candy Man”


Whisky Review # 946

Country: Scotland

Region: Speyside
Brand: Aberlour Casg Annamh - Batch 5
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 48%
Maturation: Mix of Ex-Bourbon Casks and Ex-Oloroso Sherry Casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 45-65 (May 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ˜ Okay at around US$ 45
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ‘Ž Better avoid this one and stay with the A'Bunadh 

Colour: Golden Amber (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Please give this Aberlour a bit of time in the glass before Nosing. It helps to calm down the initial waft of Varnish that greets the Nose. The influence of the Sherried Casks is there but it's not at all overwhelming. The Nose is basically Sweet with lots of Orange and Dried Fruit. A few Sour notes help to balance things out. The Alcohol is noticeable. The Nose feels Young but is okay though nothing special. The Fruity notes are a bit Artificial and remind me more of Fruit-Flavored Candies with the exception of the Orange note.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Caramel, Dried Fruit like Plums, Apricots and Raisins, Orange, slightly Sour Red Berries, Maraschino Cherries, Yeast, Dusty Oak, Ginger, Cinnamon and Mint.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Golden Syrup, Brown Sugar, Apple, Pear, Nectarine, Lemon, Banana, Glue, Nougat, Varnish, Forest Floor, Dry Earth, Tobacco and Pepper.


Palate:

Young, Medium-Dry and Slightly Hot. Mostly Sweet but with a few Bitter and Sour notes for balance. The Alcohol is really noticeable. The Fruit notes are even more Artificial than on the Nose unfortunately. I'm not impressed with this Casg Annamh.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Caramel, Buttered Toast, Artificially Flavored Candies (Cherry, Apple, Strawberry, Raspberry, Pear, Banana), Orange, Nectarine, Yeast, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, Licorice, Menthol and Dusty Oak.  

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Toffee, Vanilla, Lemon, Nougat, Grass, Varnish, Milk Chocolate, Cardamom, Nutmeg, Dusty Track and hints of Metal Pipes.


Finish:

Middle-Long, Young, Spicy and slightly Hot. Mainly Sweet but with a few Sour and Bitter notes as well. Medium-Dry towards the end. The Alcohol is quite noticeable. I find Sweet Barley, Toffee, Honey, Caramel, Vanilla, Artificially Flavored Candies (Strawberry, Apple, Raspberry, Cherry, Pear) Orange, Lemon, Nectarine, Varnish, Yeast, Milk Chocolate, Herbal Tea, Grass, Dusty Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Ginger, Nutmeg, Cloves, Licorice and Menthol. After a while i get a very strong note of Tutti Frutti Bubblegum.

Drinking Advice:

With added Water it becomes even more Edgy and Artificial. A couple of drops to ease the Alcohol perhaps but no more!

Rating: 82

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good. Nothing special

Conclusion:

The Aberlour distillery was founded in 1879 by James Fleming and is located in the little village of the same name in Banffshire, Speyside. Since 2001 it is owned by Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard). The capacity of Aberlour is around 3,8 million litres per year. The core range includes the 12, 16 and 18 Years as well as the A'Bunadh and the Casg Annamh.

Casg Annamh means Rare Cask in Gaelish. It matured in a mix of European Oak Ex- Oloroso Sherry Casks and two types of American Oak Ex-Bourbon casks.

I'm not impressed with this Aberlour expression. It's not really bad but it's Young, Hot and even a little on the Thin side despite the more than adequate ABV. In fact the Alcohol is noticeable throughout the Nosing and Tasting procedures. What most bothers me though is the Artificiality of the Fruit notes. A bit irritating even. So if you like Aberlour, avoid this one and stay true to the A'Bunadh series that still offer the best this distillery has to offer IMHO and at somewhat affordable prices. There's simply nothing Rare about this Casg Annamh! 

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                            May 10, 2022

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

Highland Park Full Volume


”The Rain, The Highland Park and Other Things” 

Whisky Review # 945

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Islands - Orkney
Brand: Highland Park Full Volume - Limited Edition - 481 Casks
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: Distilled from March to September 1999 - Bottled 2017 - Around 17 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 47.2%
Maturation: First-Fill Ex-Bourbon Casks (Mix of Barrels and Hogsheads)
Filtration: Filtered at 4 Degrees Celsius
Price Range: US$ 85-125 (May 2022)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ˜ Okay at around US$ 80. I wouln't pay more though!
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜ Better go for the standard 18 Years

Colour:

Pale Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Highland Park Malt usually matures in Sherried Wood so it would be extremely hard to recognize this Full Volume as HP in a Blind Tasting. The Ex-Bourbon casks would probably lead you in the false direction of a lightly Peated Highland Malt. Which is not necessarily a bad thing of course. The strong Vanilla & Fruit notes and the hints of Wax and Varnish confirm the 1st Fill quality of the casks. The Nose is mostly Sweet but a few Sour notes provide balance. The (Peat) Smoke is a mere after- thought but it does give an extra dimension to the Full Volume. It's not a great Nose but it's pleasant and confy. The Alcohol is noticeable but not in a nasty way. To be honest I would give it less than 17 years.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Toasted Barley, German Butter Biscuits, Vanilla, Honey, Apple, Pear, Toasted Pineapple, Orange, Lemon, Salted Nuts, Grass and Straw, Dried and Fresh Herbs, Toasted Oak, Cinnamon and Cloves.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Brown Sugar, Caramel, Wax, Glue, Yeast, Banana, Grapefruit, Gooseberry, Coconut, Green Mango, Marzipan, Green Leaves, Wet Forest Floor, Wet Stones, Earthy Peat, Tobacco, Cold Cigar Smoke, Pepper, Nutmeg and Mint.


Palate:

The Palate tries to follow the Nose and while the basis elements are still there they are presented in a slightly less harmonious way. It's even a little Edgy, Dirty and Hot at times. Sweet & Sour notes still prevail but a light Bitterness pops up around the corner. How many times Highland Park Malts have disappointed me on the Palate. A pity!

Main Flavours:

Toasted/Malted Barley, Butter Biscuits, Vanilla, Honey, Apple, Pear, Orange, Banana, Lemon, Grapefruit, Gooseberry, Grass & Straw, Dusty Track, Charred Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves and Mint.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Salted Caramel, Yeast, Wax, Bounty Bars, Nectarine, Mango, Salted Nuts, Herbal Tea, Earthy Peat, Cigar Smoke, Soot, Wet Stones, Nutmeg, Ginger and Tobacco.


Finish:

Middle-Long. Sweet and Sour at first but with increasing Bitterness towards the Dry end. It's a little Thin despite the sufficient ABV. I find Sweet Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Apple, Pear, Nectarine, Bounty Bar, Grapefruit, Gooseberry, Orange, Lemon, Banana, Toasted Oak, Wax, Resin, Yeast, Hay and Grass, Herbal Tea, Dusty Track, Cocoa Powder, Tobacco, Dusty Peat, Cigar Smoke, Soot, Wet Cardboard, Wet Rocks, Tobacco, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves & Menthol. The Alcohol is much more present at this point.


Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not improve this Highland Park.

Rating: 84 

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21 

Drinking Experience Neat: Good but nothing special

Conclusion:

The distillery was founded in 1798 by David Robertson. It is located in the small town of Kirkwall on the isle of Orkney. Orkney is still quite strongly influenced by its Viking past & the distillery has increasingly used this past as a rather successful marketing tool. Highland Park currently produces around 2.5 million litres of Alcohol & is owned since 1997 by the Edrington Group. The core range basically consists of the 10 (Viking Scars), the 12 (Viking Honour), the 15 (Viking Heart), the 18 (Viking Pride), the 21, 25, 30 and 40 years, Cask Strength, Dragon Legend & Viking Tribe.

We visited Highland Park in May 2019 and I thoroughly enjoyed the visit despite the terrible weather. Orkney is a special place and I understand the tradition and the bond with the Viking ancestors. It's such a pity that the distillery regularly distorts this picture with mediocre, expensive "Cult" Single Malts based on that theme.

The Full Volume was launched in 2017. Both radios and whiskies have to be tuned to produce the best sound and taste. But once again I think that the Highland Park commercial department exaggerates with the concept of the Full Volume. Both the name and the "threatening" Black Bottle and Packaging suggest a very strong and unforgiving Single Malt. But the opposite is the case. The Nose, although pleasant, is affable but not powerful. And the slightly Edgy and Hot Palate and Finish do not spell fine-tuning in my opinion. Once again suggestion and reality are two different things. I can't await the day that Highland Park simply decides to make good Malt Whisky without all the (Viking) bells and whistles.

While I was writing this review it started to rain and I was already looking forward to watch the Moto GP training in Jerez in Spain. Hence the title of this review. It's a funny coincidence by the way that the motor races are in Jerez and I'm reviewing a HP that matured in Ex-Bourbon casks ๐Ÿ˜€.  

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                             May 3, 2022

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2019